One of the best things you can do for your business is to ask for referrals. Not only can it drastically increase your customers, it can also widen the reach of your business. This means that people who have never heard about you will now know your name.
The best way to do this is through email. Unlike other complex communication channels, email is simple. You just need to compose a text-based referral email and you are ready to go.
However, there are some techniques that you must keep in mind when you ask for referrals via email.
STEP 1: Have a Referral Program
Start an affiliate program or referral program. This is where you reward your prospects for referring people to your site. Instead of approaching each of your customers and subscribers and asking them to refer someone, you can just set up this program and send a broadcast email.
Many businesses have gained massive amounts of customers through referral programs. Unlike normal promotion, referral programs leverages the network of customers and subscribers. This means that anyone who is connected to your business can promote you. The best part is that they will promote you to the people that they know. These are people that they have warm relationships with. This means that these people have a higher likelihood of buying from your business as long as you are able to communicate your value.
NOTE: Creating a referral program from scratch is not an option. It helps to look for the best affiliate software that can help you set it up in a few clicks. This will allow you to have a dedicated dashboard where you can see all the new affiliate accounts and a compensation dashboard where you can send commissions with a click of a button. You’ll need this if you want to streamline your referral program process. This way, you can focus more on promoting your program instead of dealing with the programming specifics.
STEP 2: Make a Catchy Subject Line
No one is going to click on an email with a boring headline. If you will just tell them that they should promote you, you can expect that they will not even click your email. You need to give your prospects a reason to promote your store or website. Unless you do that, you’ll find that you have less than satisfying open rates for your referral emails.
Your subject line should be able to answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ or ‘Why should I click on this email?’. You must do your best to increase your open rates for that will translate into more referrals. More referrals mean more potential customers. More potential customers mean more sales.
If you don’t know how to title your emails, it will help to observe some of the emails that you have clicked on the past. Look at some people that you are subscribing to and look at their referral emails. If you have promoted a business in the past, there is a chance that they have convinced you to do that through a good referral email. You can use that as a model for your referral email.
But if you have not subscribed to businesses in the past, now is the time to do so. Look for some businesses that you like and subscribe. If you can, look for a business that have a referral or affiliate program. This way, you’ll know that you will likely get a referral email.
It is in studying successful businesses that one can learn. You may not be a writer and that’s okay. As long as you can observe and imitate the best practices of successful businesses, you’ll be okay.
NOTE: It doesn’t work to try to create headlines that just get people to click. I have seen some marketers do it. They tell their subscribers that they will lose their account or something exciting is going on just to get them to click. Don’t do that. Your subscribers will just feel cheated and they will never trust another email that will come from you. Instead, be clear on what you will give them if they will help you. Show that in the subject line. This way, they’ll know what to do and what to expect. Plus, it may get them excited to get that reward.
STEP 3: Make it Personal
Personalization is not only important. It is required. Customers nowadays look for personalization in their emails. In fact, 50% of customers are willing to look for another business if the business doesn’t have personalized emails.
Also, personalization has a positive effect on open rates and click-through rates. Just by personalizing your email, you have a chance to increase your open rate by 62% and your click-through rate by 75%. Marketers have done several experiments on this and they found that personalized emails always work better.
Personalization is not just for the body of the email. It is for the headline too. In fact, calling a prospect with their name can increase their chance of opening the email by 65%.
And it is not just in open and click-through rates. Personalization can also have an effect on your profits. Personalized emails are 6x more likely to convince a subscriber to buy. Also, it helps the marketer to segment emails so that they can boost conversions.
STEP 4: Understand Customer Motivations
You’ll only know the right reward to give if you understand where your customers are coming from. This is where motivations come in. You need to be able to get out of your own head and look at your customer’s needs. Think about why they are buying from you. Why did they choose you over other businesses? This will help you understand what they need from you.
From here, you’ll be able to brainstorm some possible rewards that your prospects will be interested in. These rewards should speak to their needs and should empower their motivation. If the reward is attractive enough, it will propel your prospects into action right away.
PRO TIP: Don’t know what your customers want? Then ask them. You can hold an interview or survey on a few selected customers. Or if you have brainstormed some reward ideas, present it to them. This way, you can get their ideas. Note however that what customers say and do are different. They may say that they will be interested in it but they may not take action. You need to know to read between the lines.
STEP 5: Reward Everyone
Referral programs have their downsides if you choose to only reward one. If you only reward the referrer, then the friend will most likely sign up but not take action after. If you only reward the friend, you end up not giving the referrer the motivation to promote you. To keep it balanced, you should reward both. This will give all parties the reason to promote your business.
NOTE: There is an exception to the rule of rewarding everyone. If your business provides so much value that the product or service in itself is a reward, you may not need to have a referral program that rewards both parties. For example, Uber gives free rides to first time riders. In this case, the referrer can still promote you to her friend who needs a ride even if you choose not to reward the referrer for doing this. Of course, the chances of getting more referrals become higher if you reward the referrer. But if you provide a product or a service that has enough value. It can already promote itself without the need for rewards.
ANOTHER NOTE: Not every business have the means to reward everyone in a referral program. Some funds may be better allocated to paid marketing promotions. But if you see this as an investment, your perspective of this will change. You see, the customers that you get from paid promotions are usually not as engaged as customers that you’ll get from referral marketing. Referrals are usually connected to the people who referred them. This means that they have the motivation to engage with your business more than a random prospect who found you through an ad. The power of referral programs are in the power of relationships. It leverages existing relationships of their customers and use that to increase the conversions of an existing sale system.
STEP 6: Give Them a Way to Take Action
Make sure that your call-to-action is prominent. I have seen many emails claiming that the customers can get something for promoting the business but there is no link to click on to do that. It doesn’t help to show people what you will give them and don’t give them a chance to take action. Emails may look simple but be sure that there are links everywhere.
The same concept applies in your referrer and friend pages. The referrer pages should have a prominent area where they can key in their friends’ contact information. The friend pages should contain how to get the reward. Your prospects need your guidance not only to navigate your site but to participate fully in your referral or affiliate program.
BONUS: Referral Emails in Action (FREE Template)
Don’t know how to approach your customers for referrals? No problem!
Start by brainstorming some reward ideas. Here is a template that you can use for that.
NOTE: A persona is an imagined personality of your customer. This is derived from the behaviors that your existing customers exhibited as they work with you. From here, you can examine their motivations and think about possible rewards to give them for your referral program.
As for the actual email, here is a simple template that you can use.
SUBJECT LINE: Get a [reward] today!
Hello [Customer Name],
Thank you for buying from us. Are you enjoying your product/s?
Today, we are giving away a [reward] for every referral made to our business.
Do you have friends who may be interested in our products (or services)?
Get a [reward] if you refer at least 1 friend.
Plus, your friend gets a [reward] as well.
As you can see, the subject line is clear. It states what the prospect will get when they click on the email. There is also a prominent call-to-action link. This is so prospects can easily click on the link if they want to join the referral program. Personalization is also incorporated into the email. The prospect is addressed by name and the reward is also stated clearly. The mechanics are also clearly stated. There is a statement that shows that the friend also gets rewarded in the process. It is short and simple but it works.
Are Your Ready to Promote Your Business?
The quickest way to promote your business is referral marketing. Instead of doing your promotions alone, you get to enlist all of your customers and subscribers as your personal army of marketers. This army can then promote your business to their family and friends. The power of referral marketing stems from the trust between your customers and their referrals. Unlike traditional marketing where you broadcast the name of your brand hoping that someone will pay attention. Referral marketing is about enlisting a team of people who will talk to people who they are closed to and promote your business. This bypass the cold leads and head straight for the warm leads, the leads who are more likely to convert.
The best part is that referral marketing is easy. There are now softwares that can help you create a referral program with a few simple clicks. Plus, you get to manage everything in one dashboard. From there, it is as simple as creating a program and launching it. It can work extremely well if you already have existing customers and subscribers. Simply send them an email and you would have given them the power to spread the word about your business to their family and friends.